Exploring perceived changes in family functioning after the imprisonment of a family member
Davel, Catharina Magdalena
MetadataShow full item record
Research regarding the imprisonment of a family member has mainly focused on the effects of parental imprisonment on the children in that family. Literature indicates that the child of an imprisoned parent has to deal with numerous challenges, including stigma and shame related to their parent‟s arrest and imprisonment. Other common feelings these children might experience include anger, confusion and sadness. Furthermore these children often experience pressure related to keeping the imprisonment a secret from those close to them. These children might also face multiple separations from the imprisoned parent, experience changes with regards to residence, school and friendships, adoption of adult roles and responsibilities, financial distress, lack of supervision and more. When compared to literature regarding parental imprisonment relatively few studies have been done on the effects of imprisonment on the family as a whole, especially in the South African context. The available research indicates there are numerous implications for the family as a whole. Some of these implications include stigma, financial stress, role changes within the family, relational problems between family members (including extended family), challenges in dealing with the criminal justice system and emotional distress (feelings of loneliness, anxiety, isolation and worry). The aim of this study was to explore and describe the changes that take place in family functioning when a member of that family is imprisoned as they are perceived by the members of the nuclear family. A qualitative description (descriptive) research approach was used in this study. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants. Six voluntary participants (all family members of imprisoned individuals) from four families were recruited. Participants were aged between 15 and 75, consisted of one male and five females. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. These interviews were audio recorded and then transcribed. Initial questions for the semi-structured interviews were obtained using the McMaster Model of Family Functioning as a guiding framework. Therefore, first deductive (directed) content analysis was used, after which thematic analysis was then done on the transcribed data. From the analysis two main themes and nine sub-themes emerged. It was found that participants relied more on their family members for problem solving, were generally more open-hearted and honest with their communication towards each other while limiting potentially distressing communication and they experienced changes in the roles and responsibilities within the family. Participants also reported experiencing new emotions (positive and negative) and experienced increased support, understanding and involvement from their family members. They furthermore experienced changes in behaviour control and household rules ranging from rigid to laissez-faire and often fluctuating between these. Some participants reported experiencing more support from outside the family. Participants furthermore reported feeling stigmatised and isolated within their communities. They also experienced gaining resilience and inner strength and found strength through their religious beliefs. The findings of this study can‟t be generalized due to the limited demographic variability and small sample size. Limited research is available regarding the changes in family functioning after the imprisonment of a family member in the family as a whole, especially in the South African context. The identification of religion and resilience (as sub-themes identified from the data) as they relate to coping is probably the most important contribution of this study as it is not discussed in any of the models of family functioning mentioned in this study, including the McMaster Model of Family Functioning. It is recommended that further research focus on both resilience and religion as they relate to coping and possibly contribute to family functioning after the imprisonment of a family member. It is furthermore suggested that specific intervention programs be developed to help families function effectively after the imprisonment of a family member. These intervention programs might include group work with different families or working with individual families either with skills development, psycho-education or therapeutically.
- Health Sciences 
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
An exploration of social workers' perceptions of family well-being and the balance between work and family domains Bisschoff, Marlize (North-West University (South Africa), Potchefstroom Campus, 2015)This study is a sub-study of the project entitled “A multi-disciplinary programme to enhance family well-being in different South African contexts: Phase one”. One of the objectives of the project is to explore and describe ...
Van der Merwe, S.P.; Venter, E.; Farrington, S.M. (APM, 2012)This study highlights the influence of selected business family values on the success of small and medium-sized family businesses. Success, for the purpose of this study, is measured using two variables, namely Harmonious ...
Tlhowe, Tryphina Tlhalefi (2014)Studies have indicated that relapse is noted as a major problem facing mental health services both nationally and internationally whereby family members caring for mental health care users experience a serious burden. ...